Acupuncture Advice for Post-Holiday Recovery
Many of my clients have been telling me lately that they feel frazzled by the transition from holiday overindulgence (or simply holiday time off to laze around) back to “regular” life. I personally was lucky enough to take a week off in late December, and while half of it was filled with family celebrations, the other portion was totally unstructured time just for me.
The first week of January was especially busy as I had scheduled myself pretty full, was re-engaging a fairly long to-do list, and was (am) prepping for the graduate course on “Practice Management” (business, values, and ethics) that I co-teach (online) at my acupuncture school every winter.
As I re-entered my regular life, I started to feel a certain sense of speed building in my body. This hyper-productivity mode is familiar to me, and I know it’s gone too far when I start rushing from one end of the house to the other. My unsettled mind produces a cagey pacing energy in my physical form.
My husband and I call this “neurotic pony mode” after a story about a Shetland pony my parents saw on a trip to Scotland that was running back and forth, back and forth without pause.
When I start to feel that neurotic pony impulse, the first thing that I do is name the sensation. (And I always try to name it before it’s so obvious that my husband has to ask “is there a pony loose in here???!!!”) Then I slow down, commit to do just one thing and then agree with myself to take it step-by-step.
Maybe you too have felt that penned-up neurotic pony vibe. Or the hamster wheel brain feeling. Or monkey mind. Call it what you will. (I personally love any and all animal metaphors.)
In addition to breathing and remembering to slow, I also have been working with a meditation from one of my favorite acupuncturists: Thea Elijah. When the to-do list starts revving up, she encourages you to sit and imagine a down escalator in the back of your brain. Just put those to-do thoughts on the escalator and send them down, down, down. Allow your mind to settle.
Sometimes being up in our heads takes us out of our bodies. We can become so anxious, so overworked, so stressed that we forget to remember that we are all divine creatures sent here to manifest consciousness and light.
Much of my life practice is about shifting back. Finding stability by pulling back, pausing, and even connecting back and down to my sit bones, pulling the tops of my ears over my shoulders over my hips so that I don’t get dragged too far forward by life.
It’s easy to get sucked into too many commitments, to propel ourselves (just like that pony), and sometimes we just generally do have a lot of forward momentum (like me teaching for my acupuncture school every winter, it takes a lot of energy and time), or a lot “to do.”
When we act with integrity, we take the time to ground down, to find our own stability and to connect back into ourselves.
In yoga, the “back body” (back of your body) is considered more universal. The front of your body individuates you. When we learn how to settle our energy back, we have the opportunity to stay connected to something larger than our individual self, to stay connected to all the wisdom we’ve already encountered, and to remember that we are a raindrop, a ripple, in a vast ocean.
In allowing ourselves to not get tricked by our individual self-importance, or the importance of our own personal to-do lists, we can stay connected to each other and to all things.
This winter, may you remember the light and may you also remember to rest.